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General News
Drugs busts at KIA has gone up 3/1/2007
2006 International Narcotic Control Board Report launched
Accra, March 1, GNA - The 2006 International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) Report was launched in Accra on Thursday with a positive message that measures to control drug trafficking in the country were paying off.

Mr Kweku Agyeman Manu, Deputy Minister of the Interior who launched the Report on behalf of the Minister, noted that the number of arrests of drug-related cases at the Airport had gone up while arrests abroad had reduced.

This, he said, meant that the measures put in place to control drug trafficking in the country were yielding results. He said Ghana had demonstrated her commitment to the INCB treaties by working in unison with the international community. Mr. Manu added that Operation Westbridge, a partnership project between the government of Ghana and Britain and the yet to be implemented Container Project, an agreement with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to check the contents of containers for drugs, were prime examples.

The report contains an analysis of the drug control situation in the world and gives recommendations for improvements at both national and international levels, The report, which also draws attention of governments to gaps and weaknesses in national control and in treaty compliance, were based on information provided by governments and international bodies to the INCB.

It is supplemented by detailed technical reports on narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and on precursor chemicals, which can be used in the illicit manufacture of such drugs.

Mr Manu said he did not accept the extreme views of some social commentators which suggested that government was not doing anything about the problem of illicit drug peddling.

"We have been working very hard to put in place a more effective narcotics control system for this country, but we are being cautious when it comes to the final product.

"We want to get it right and therefore the limited delay in the implementation of the various recommendations emanating from the various workshops is necessary."

He said the government had decided to make Ghana an unattractive destination for drug traffickers and abusers.

Mr Manu said key strategies being pursued to check drug trafficking include a new law to ensure that no bails were given to drug-related suspects until the cases had been determined by the courts.

He said a committee had also been set up by the government to review all drug cases on which judgement had already been given and a legal framework to ensure that confiscated drugs were destroyed.

Dr Joseph Bediako Asare, Member of INCB, who gave the general overview of the global drug situation, said the drug problem in Ghana was minimal compared to other parts of the world but there was the need to establish a comprehensive legal framework to be fully implemented by all the stakeholders to control trafficking.

He said Afghanistan was by far the world''s largest illicit producer of opium and was seriously endangering the aims of the Convention and that about 2.9 million people were engaged in the drug business with about one million drug abusers, 60,000 of whom were under age 16.

Dr Asare said in Africa, the large-scale trafficking in cocaine was worrisome since both the number of couriers apprehended and the volume of bulk seizures of cocaine had increased significantly.

Dr. Asare said due to the weak interdiction capacities in Africa, drug trafficking networks were using the region as a transit area for smuggling cocaine from South America through Western, Central and Southern Africa with Morocco remaining the largest producer of cannabis in Africa.

For the Americas, Dr Asare said the region continued to be used as a major transhipment area for cocaine from South America to North America and Europe.

Trafficking of heroine from West Asia remained a problem whereas cannabis continued to be the largest abused drug in Europe, Dr Asare said. Major General Richardson Baiden, Executive Secretary of the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB), said Ghana''s efforts towards combating the drug menace were concentrated on supply and demand reduction. He said cannabis, which was produced locally, remained the most drug of abuse and trafficked substance in the country.

He said heroine seizure during the year reduced compared to previous years.

The main sources were Thailand, Pakistan and Dubai but with NACOB''s commitment to work both harder and smarter with enforcement agencies throughout the world the threat of trans-national drug trafficking would be minimised.

Mr Daoda Toure, UNDP Resident Representative who chaired the launch, said the eventual success in tackling the world drug problem depended not only on appropriate legislation that was effectively implemented, but also well-designed demand reduction programmes.

He said the programmes must be conducted by well motivated human resources as they played a significant role in determining how successful the programme became.


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